IT News

The Ransomware Threat is Getting Worse For Windows 7 Users

Uncategorized | October 29, 2021
windows 7 computer infected with malware

Well, Cyber Security Awareness Month is coming to an end. Sadly, that does not mean the risks are too. Hackers and ransomware scammers are still working hard to separate you from your cash all year long.

Obviously, threats come in all shapes and sizes. However, we are seeing one pop up a LOT lately. And this is definitely one that you can avoid – ransomware attacks through Windows 7 machines!

No more support

Even though Microsoft stopped support for Windows 7 long ago, and we are now even entering the era of Windows 11, an alarming number of companies are still running 1 or 2 machines on Windows 7. In fact, of January this year, at least 100 million machines were still running Windows 7. (With that many, it is no surprise that cyber criminals are still targeting them!)

We get it. It was a really popular version! The pandemic, coupled with a chip shortage, may force businesses to dust-off old units to meet the demand of remote working. In other businesses, we see migration issues due to compatibility with industry-specific software. In these situations, upgrading could be tough and costly. The companies need to contact manufacturers direct to get the upgrade.

However, this 11-year-old OS is now turning into a major security hazard… and some are paying a heavy price for it!  When ransomware viruses hit those machines, the fixing costs are much greater than upgrade costs.

A plan for 7 users

So, what can you do about?

Well… to start, take an inventory of how many computers are using 7. Then, find out what it will take to upgrade them.

While you come up with a migration plan, consider buying Extended Security Updates (ESU) from Microsoft. They won’t give you any new features, but they will temporarily patch your system with the critical security updates and give you a couple of extra years of breathing space.

Look at your back-up procedures and make sure they happen on a regular basis… just in case you do get attacked before you have finished migration. (Even if you are on Windows 10 or 11, regular secure back-ups are the number 1 way to save thousands of dollars in an attack!)

And finally, educate employees on the risks and methods of ransomware attacks. You can never under-estimate the value of this line of defense!

Take action!

No matter what OS you are running, you need to assume that you are going to get attacked at some point. How you prepare for that attack could make or break your business!

If you are in the Fraser Valley and want help with this, contact us!


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